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Author Topic: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...  (Read 1973 times)

2Lacoste

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WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« on: July 28, 2006, 10:49:38 AM »
Aside from the rampant supposition, the article says what most right-minded folk have been saying all along: signing statements are not inherently bad.  I still would hold that 90% of Bush's signing statements aren't bad.  It's simply a way of leaving a mark on the legislative history.  If Senators can add all kinds of statements to the Congressional Record in order to (successfully in Hamdan) fool SCOTUS justices with a fabricated intent, then President's should be able to "try" to leave their mark of the legislative history as well.



Signing Off
Presidential signing statements aren't a problem. What Mr. Bush is saying in them is.
Friday, July 28, 2006; Page A24


ACROSS A WIDE range of areas, President Bush has asserted a grandiose vision of presidential power, one to which Congress has largely acquiesced. From domestic surveillance to holding detainees in the war on terrorism, the administration has generally ignored the legislature, brushed aside inconvenient statutes and proceeded unilaterally. All of this, as we have argued many times, warrants grave concern and a strenuous response. But it is worth separating that issue from the ongoing controversy over the president's aggressive use of what are called "signing statements" -- those formal documents that accompany the signing of a bill into law.

Ever since the Boston Globe reported this year that the president had used such statements to question the constitutionality of more than 750 provisions of law, critics across the political spectrum have been up in arms. The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings, and this week a task force of the American Bar Association issued a report accusing the president of usurping legislative powers.
 
President Bush brought this skirmish on himself. He has used signing statements -- which indicate that he will interpret new laws so as to avoid the constitutional problems he has flagged within them -- far more frequently than other presidents. In some areas, he has used them to articulate deeply troubling views of presidential authority. Most infamously, in signing the amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) banning American personnel from using "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment on detainees, he stated that his administration would interpret the new law "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power" -- apparently reserving for himself the power to override the prohibition.

Still, it is important not to let Mr. Bush's ugly signing statements bring the presidential practice into disrepute. Signing statements are actually a useful device for transparent and open government.

Presidents have long used signing statements to identify particular provisions of law as potentially unconstitutional. They have just as long declined to enforce provisions of law they regarded as unconstitutional. Particularly since the Carter and Reagan administrations, the use of signing statements has been on the upswing, and that's generally a good thing. These statements give the public and Congress fair warning about which laws the president intends to ignore or limit through interpretation. They thereby permit criticism and more vibrant debate. And they have no legal consequences over and above the president's powers to instruct the executive branch as to how to interpret a law -- which he could do privately in any case.

While Mr. Bush has been particularly aggressive about issuing signing statements, a great many break no new ground but merely articulate constitutional views that the executive branch has held across many administrations. The problem is not that Mr. Bush reserves the right to state his views; it is the dangerous substance of the views he sometimes states.

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Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2006, 11:20:24 AM »
Aside from the rampant supposition, the article says what most right-minded folk have been saying all along: signing statements are not inherently bad.  I still would hold that 90% of Bush's signing statements aren't bad.  It's simply a way of leaving a mark on the legislative history.  If Senators can add all kinds of statements to the Congressional Record in order to (successfully in Hamdan) fool SCOTUS justices with a fabricated intent, then President's should be able to "try" to leave their mark of the legislative history as well.






Yeaaaaaaaaaaah, I'm gonna have to go ahead and uhhhhhhhhhhhh....disagree with you there, Bob.



Congress (legistlature) is supposed to spell out their legislative intent in their legislation.  That is their purpose in life.  The President on the other hand, is not supposed to legislate.  That's why line-item veto's are unconstitutional - because if the Prez gets to pick and choose which parts of the legislation get to pass, he is editting the statute or bill, which is effectively legislating.  Judges can't legislate from the bench, nor can the President legislate from the White House.  Separation of powers, gotdamnit!
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mivida2k

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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2006, 11:35:50 AM »
Activist president.
The president's approval rating has dropped to 33 percent, matching his low in May. His handling of nearly every issue, from the Iraq war to foreign policy, contributed to the president's decline around the nation, even in the Republican-friendly South.

crazy8

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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2006, 11:50:54 AM »
Aside from the rampant supposition, the article says what most right-minded folk have been saying all along: signing statements are not inherently bad.  I still would hold that 90% of Bush's signing statements aren't bad.  It's simply a way of leaving a mark on the legislative history.  If Senators can add all kinds of statements to the Congressional Record in order to (successfully in Hamdan) fool SCOTUS justices with a fabricated intent, then President's should be able to "try" to leave their mark of the legislative history as well.


Are you for real?  Lacoste, I'm not sure if you're kidding sometimes or if you really mean what you say?  ???  Senators made comments in the Congressional Record they didn't go ahead and sign  something into law then write a statement basically saying they're not going to follow it.  If the SCOTUS judges take the legislative history into consideration while making a decision, it's their right.  If Dubya decides he wants to be above the law, then that's a violation of the Constitution.

EDIT:  Also, Dubya has already left his indelible mark in history, don't think he needs a signing statement to do that.



Signing Off
Presidential signing statements aren't a problem. What Mr. Bush is saying in them is.
Friday, July 28, 2006; Page A24


ACROSS A WIDE range of areas, President Bush has asserted a grandiose vision of presidential power, one to which Congress has largely acquiesced. From domestic surveillance to holding detainees in the war on terrorism, the administration has generally ignored the legislature, brushed aside inconvenient statutes and proceeded unilaterally. All of this, as we have argued many times, warrants grave concern and a strenuous response. But it is worth separating that issue from the ongoing controversy over the president's aggressive use of what are called "signing statements" -- those formal documents that accompany the signing of a bill into law.

Ever since the Boston Globe reported this year that the president had used such statements to question the constitutionality of more than 750 provisions of law, critics across the political spectrum have been up in arms. The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings, and this week a task force of the American Bar Association issued a report accusing the president of usurping legislative powers.
 
President Bush brought this skirmish on himself. He has used signing statements -- which indicate that he will interpret new laws so as to avoid the constitutional problems he has flagged within them -- far more frequently than other presidents. In some areas, he has used them to articulate deeply troubling views of presidential authority. Most infamously, in signing the amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) banning American personnel from using "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment on detainees, he stated that his administration would interpret the new law "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power" -- apparently reserving for himself the power to override the prohibition.
Still, it is important not to let Mr. Bush's ugly signing statements bring the presidential practice into disrepute. Signing statements are actually a useful device for transparent and open government.

Presidents have long used signing statements to identify particular provisions of law as potentially unconstitutional. They have just as long declined to enforce provisions of law they regarded as unconstitutional. Particularly since the Carter and Reagan administrations, the use of signing statements has been on the upswing, and that's generally a good thing. These statements give the public and Congress fair warning about which laws the president intends to ignore or limit through interpretation. They thereby permit criticism and more vibrant debate. And they have no legal consequences over and above the president's powers to instruct the executive branch as to how to interpret a law -- which he could do privately in any case.

While Mr. Bush has been particularly aggressive about issuing signing statements, a great many break no new ground but merely articulate constitutional views that the executive branch has held across many administrations. The problem is not that Mr. Bush reserves the right to state his views; it is the dangerous substance of the views he sometimes states.


The article is trying to downplay the signing statement, but captures it best in the last sentence.  When he basically tries to go around the ban of human rights violations, it calls him into question.

2Lacoste

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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2006, 02:07:56 PM »
Would one of you Chicken Littles please demonstrate that the sky is, indeed, falling?  Show me one instance where a Bush signing statement has led to him overtly refusing to follow a law.  Just one instance.  Then we can discuss these alleged abuses.  Thanks.
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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2006, 03:02:11 PM »
Would one of you Chicken Littles please demonstrate that the sky is, indeed, falling?  Show me one instance where a Bush signing statement has led to him overtly refusing to follow a law.  Just one instance.  Then we can discuss these alleged abuses.  Thanks.

Interestingly enough, for someone who is so up in arms about “judges legislating from the bench” you’re all too happy to see the president legislating.

Examples of signing statements in which president Bush has indicated he will not follow the law:
1)   Bills banning the use of U.S troops in combat against rebels in Colombia
2)   Bills requiring reports to congress when money from regular appropriations are diverted to secret operations
3)   Two bills forbidding the use in military intelligence of materials “not lawfully collected” in violation of the fourth amendment
4)   Bills requiring the training of prison guards in humane treatment under the Geneva convention
5)   Congressional requirements to report back to congress on the use of Patriot Act authority to secretly search homes
6)   The Mccain amendment forbidding any U.S officials to use torture on prisoners


Now to answer your question about showing an instance where a signing statement has led to him overtly refusing to follow a law.  It's hard to answer, you know why? :

A frustrated congress finally enacted a law requiring the Attorney General to submit to congress a report of any instance in which that official or any officer of the DOJ established or pursued a policy of refraining from enforcing any provision of any federal statute, but the president attached a signing statement insisting on authority to withhold information.

http://www.abanet.org/op/signingstatements/

Priceless!
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crazy8

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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2006, 03:03:26 PM »
Would one of you Chicken Littles please demonstrate that the sky is, indeed, falling?  Show me one instance where a Bush signing statement has led to him overtly refusing to follow a law.  Just one instance.  Then we can discuss these alleged abuses.  Thanks.

Why is it that you seem to be one of those people that want to wait for you to be harmed by soemthing before you realize you're being harmed?  ??? I'll continue to be a
"chicken little" but I'd rather be that than someone who doesn't see that the stove is hot, and needs to put my hand on it before I believe it. ;)


2Lacoste

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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2006, 03:13:41 PM »
6)   The Mccain amendment forbidding any U.S officials to use torture on prisoners



I refused to see how this...

The executive branch shall construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President, evidenced in Title X, of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.


...translates into this...


I'm gonna torture bitches!!!



But hey, maybe y'all took a class on Bushism Interpretation that I failed to register for.
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_BP_

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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2006, 03:24:15 PM »
Would one of you Chicken Littles please demonstrate that the sky is, indeed, falling?  Show me one instance where a Bush signing statement has led to him overtly refusing to follow a law.  Just one instance.  Then we can discuss these alleged abuses.  Thanks.

Now to answer your question about showing an instance where a signing statement has led to him overtly refusing to follow a law.  It's hard to answer, you know why? :

A frustrated congress finally enacted a law requiring the Attorney General to submit to congress a report of any instance in which that official or any officer of the DOJ established or pursued a policy of refraining from enforcing any provision of any federal statute, but the president attached a signing statement insisting on authority to withhold information.

http://www.abanet.org/op/signingstatements/

Priceless!

Don't ignore the meat of the post.  I provided an answer for your question. This doesn't bother you in the least?:

Congress: WE have a problem with your signing statements.  We require your AG to tell us of any cases where laws have been ignored.
Bush: Okay that's cool, but I'm attaching a signing statement giving me the right to withhold that information.

Oh and you keep building STRAWMEN in your misinterpretation of everyone's posts.  No one is saying "I reserve the right to torture" = "I'm going to torture".  We're not even at the second part.  We have a problem with him reserving the right in the first place.  Can you get this? It's not so complicated.
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2Lacoste

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Re: WaPo on Signing Statements -- Not All Bad...
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2006, 03:31:46 PM »
I don't even see "I reserve the right to torture" in there.

With regards to the signing statement on the law, you'd have to provide me with the text of the law and signing statement before I put myself out there (I'm likely to make poor assumptions).

And I created no strawmen.  When MDLaw writes that Bush tried to go around bans on human rights violations, I asked her to provide evidence of such behavior.  A layperson's interpretation of a signing statement (especially one as tenuous as the one meant to accompany Bush's statement on the McCain Amendment) doesn't cut it for me.
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